Recording "Helter Skelter"

Tuesday, September 10, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of

"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 18, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master release

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This was the second day of work on this remake of “Helter Skelter“, the basic track having been recorded the day before. As George Martin was on holiday for most of September 1968, Chris Thomas produced this session.

On this day, from 7 pm to 3 am, The Beatles added overdubs which included lead and backing vocals, a lead guitar part by Harrison, a trumpet played by Mal Evans, piano, further drums, and “mouth sax” created by Lennon blowing through a saxophone mouthpiece.

The first version of this one played for 24 minutes, but the finished one you’ll hear on the LP is no longer than average. Paul sings this in his screaming rock voice and the backing features The Two Harrys on brass. That’s Mal Evans on trumpet and John Lennon on saxophone! When we did the final version of this in the second week of September I made a note in my diary that The Beatles were the first people to use a brand-new 8-track recording machine just installed at the EMI Studios. Theme of the song’s lyrics? Boy to girl: “Do you don’t you want me to love you?” John plays bass which is unusual.

Mal Evans – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°64, November 1968

The mono mix would be made on September 17, and the stereo mix on October 12.

Last updated on September 11, 2021

Songs recorded


Helter Skelter

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 21


Musicians on "Helter Skelter"

Paul McCartney:
Ringo Starr:
John Lennon:
Piano, Tenor sax, Backing vocals
George Harrison:
Electric guitar, Backing vocals
Mal Evans:

Production staff

Chris Thomas:
Ken Scott:
John Smith:
Second Engineer

Going further

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

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The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)

The fourth book of this critically acclaimed series, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)" captures The Beatles as they take the lessons of Sgt. Pepper forward with an ambitious double-album that is equally innovative and progressive. From the first take to the final remix, discover the making of the greatest recordings of all time. Through extensive, fully-documented research, these books fill an important gap left by all other Beatles books published to date and provide a unique view into the recordings of the world's most successful pop music act.

Shop on Amazon

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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